Credit can be puzzling thing. Depending on how you use it, it can be good or it can be bad. It can be easy to obtain or it can be hard. It can help you move forward in life or it can hold you back. The choice lies with you. If you've had problems with credit or you just want to learn how to use it well, you've come to the right place. Below and to the left are links to information that can help you learn what you need to know so you can learn about credit, establish credit, build it, improve your credit score, find out what your credit score is, get a copy of your credit report, and protect your credit rating.
Jump to a section on this page.
Credit Reporting in Canada - Rating, Scoring and How Reports are Used
Your credit rating is a measure of your financial health and financial trustworthiness. From a statistical point of view, your credit rating reflects how likely you are to make your payments on time and repay your debts. Here are some common questions that many people have about credit:
- What is a Credit Rating and a Credit Score?
- What do I need to know about Canadian credit reporting agencies?
- How does the credit scoring model work in Canada?
- What are some other ways that credit reports are used?
- How can I get a free copy of my credit report?
- How do I use a credit card and not end up in debt?
What is a Credit Score? - Calculating, Building and Improving Credit
Do you wonder what a credit score is and how your credit score is calculated? Well wonder no more. Explore the world of credit with us as we share information about this sometimes scary subject. We will also show you how to improve your credit score and make the system work in your favor.
Let’s start with the basics. First, do you know the difference between a credit report and a credit score? Do you know what a credit score means and how a credit score is calculated? If you answered no or are unsure, then read on. We will answer questions like this and shed light on the ever so popular question about how your credit score is calculated. Other common questions people have about credit are shown below.
- Is knowing my own credit score important?
- How do I get my credit score?
- How do I improve my credit score?
- How is my credit score calculated?
- Does my credit score fall fall every time someone checks it?
Establishing Credit - Slow and Steady Is Best
If you are applying for credit for the first time, you might find it hard to get a credit card or a loan. If you have no credit history, it is difficult for lenders to determine whether or not you are a good credit risk. Here are some ways you can establish credit in Canada. You can apply for credit, take out a loan or get a cell phone. There are many other ways to establish credit or get a credit card. Choose the method that makes sense for you, and is easy to manage. Building credit takes time, so easy does it. Don’t be discouraged over small beginnings, just focus on doing it correctly, rather than quickly. Read our pro tips on how to get an awesome credit score. There are also ways that you can improve your credit score while staying out of debt. It’s important to avoid impulse spending and to make a budget or spending plan.
Maintaining Credit - Spending Plan, Budgeting, Creditor Communications and Credit Counselling
If you would like to maintain your good credit rating, there are some tried and true ways to keep good credit. If your credit is slipping, you can create a spending plan, attend budgeting courses or workshops, contact your creditors or even try credit counselling. You really can can maintain your good credit, sometimes all you need is a good money coach, and that’s where we come in.
Check Your Credit for Free - How to Get Instant Credit Report Access Online or by Phone
Learn how to check and fix mistakes on your credit report.
In Canada, you can check your credit report for free. You can get instant credit report access by phone or you can fill out an online credit report form. Equifax and TransUnion offer a free credit check once a year for no charge. To get the free copy, you'll have to wait for it to come in the mail. If you want it right away, you'll have to pay but then you can get your credit report online. If your credit report request is rejected, there are some things you can do in order to obtain it. You can also fix mistakes in your credit report if you find any. If you are finding it difficult to understand your credit report once you have obtained it, there are some basic things you should know. One important thing to note is if your credit report looks much different than you anticipated, you should make sure your identity hasn’t been compromised.
Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft - Credit Card Safety Tips
Credit card and identity theft is a big problem in Canada. Thieves are interested in stealing your credit cards, your debit card information and your identification so that they can apply for credit in your name. You need to learn now to spot signs of identity theft and check your statements each month.
Checking your credit report once a year is also a good idea too. Do not hesitate before reporting lost credit cards, bank cards and ID. In the event of such a loss, it is handy if your bank and credit card companies have your current phone number. Things like not leaving your purse or wallet in your car, only giving your credit card number to reputable companies and covering your bank card and credit card PIN numbers can also help keep your personal information more secure. You should also be careful about what bank machines you use and be careful with your bank card & credit card PIN numbers. It is also a good idea to make a list of all your cards and issuer phone numbers.
Protecting Against New Identity Theft - Credit Cards, Enhanced Driver’s License and Passport
Now that you are better informed about how to keep your information more secure, there is something else that you need to be aware of. A new credit card, enhanced driver’s license or passport may be at risk of a new type of identity theft. There are ways that you can protect yourself against this new type of identity theft, including learning about the worst threat - you! This can be a lot to digest so it is wise to put this into perspective and arm yourself with the latest info to keep your info safe.
Fix Bad Credit Yourself by Reducing Your Balance and Documented Collections
If you have poor or bad credit, in Canada you can fix your credit score (rating) without resorting to bad credit loans, but it can take time - even years. Therefore, we prefer to talk about this process in terms of re-establishing or re-building your credit rather than simply “fixing your credit.” It is possible to fix your credit score (rating) yourself, and fast. One way is to reduce your credit card or line of credit balances below 75% of your limit. You can also get collections removed from your credit report. Learn more.
5 Steps to Rebuilding Your Credit Score
Here's an overview of how you can rebuild your credit score. Click here for more details.
Co-Signing for a Loan
Did you know that the majority of people who co-sign a loan end up paying off the loan themselves? There can be many reasons why this happens, but it would probably happen a lot less if people really understood what it means to co-sign a loan. Sometimes what you don't know can hurt you. Find out what you need to know about co-signing a loan, credit card, or mortgage.
Joint Debts - How They Cause Problems
There are 3 common ways that joint debts cause people problems. Learn the pitfalls of joint debts, so you can plan well and hopefully avoid them.
One problem comes from parents trying to help their child by possibly co-signing a car loan for him or her. If making this monthly payment is a stretch for the parents, things will be tough for them if their child is off work because of reduced hours, layoffs, an injury, a business failure, or a career change. If the payments aren't kept up everyone's credit rating will suffer - including the parent's. Another common joint debt scenario may be a couple with a loan who have recently separated. A realistic way of looking at co-signing a loan is that it is truly a joint debt.
Another thing to watch for is which person is listed first on a joint debt. This can sometimes mean that one person gets credit for the debt but the other person doesn't.
Get Credit or Debt Help Today
If you have questions about your credit, credit rating, credit report, managing credit or rebuilding credit, help is only a click away. View our list of qualified credit counselling establishments in Canada. They can provide you with valuable help and coaching you if you're struggling with your credit or your debt. Their help is typically free and is always completely confidential.
- Understanding Your Credit Report and Credit Score
- You Don't Have to be in Debt to Build Credit
- 12 Ways to Get Out of Debt
- 3 Ways People Destroy Their Credit
- Use Balanced Approach to Cut Credit Card Debt